Rescue group: Dogs left to die in Everglades

Rescue group finds nearly 140 abandoned dogs

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - It's been a busy time for the volunteers of No Kill Nation.

They say nearly 140 dogs have been rescued on the outskirts of the Everglades in just a few short months.

"Owners are driving their dogs out to the Everglades, opening up their car doors and dumping their family pets, left to starve to death. We are out there every single weekend," said Amy Restucci, a volunteer with the group.

The rescued dogs vary in age, from puppies to full grown, and the range of health problems associated with their abandonment is just as great.

"The dogs are severely malnourished...they're covered with fleas and ticks, which most people are unaware, but they carry diseases that are communicable to humans as well as other animals. They have viral infections...parvo virus. Many of them are on death's door," said Dr. Laurie Phillips, an associate vet at Acacia Animal Hospital in Pompano Beach.

A handful of veterinarians is helping out. The worst cases are taken to hospitals in Miami, the rest are shipped to Pompano Beach or West Palm Beach.

"It has to be a community effort...we can't do it alone," said Restucci.

A true mystery is what's driving people to abandon their pets in the Everglades.

"I mean, I know it's a rough economy right now....but there's alternatives to just leaving them in the Everglades or dumping them on the street," said Dr. Phillips.

"People are dumping their animals in the wilderness out of ignorance thinking they will be OK, they're going to survive by themselves. They'd rather take them out there rather than take them to a shelter where they know they will be killed," said Debi Day of No Kill Nation.

For now, No Kill Nation volunteers will continue efforts to rescue dogs from the swamp, until there is no longer a need.

However, until stricter laws are put into place, volunteers believe there is no end in sight.

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